9/17/2013 8:28 P.M. ET
Regular playing time helps Jor. Danks blossom
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- The poor White Sox season has allowed a younger player such as Jordan Danks to get more everyday playing time, and the results have been impressive.
Danks homered and doubled, with two RBIs and two runs scored, in Monday's 12-1 victory over the Twins. He entered Tuesday night's action 6-for-16 with six walks on the homestand, and he has a .333 average over his last 28 games.
While the younger, non-pitching Danks has made tweaks to his offensive approach throughout the year, his regular at-bats have produced a more consistent swing.
"When I was a bench player, not getting as many [at-bats], you kind of felt like you were doing something different every time you were coming up there," Danks said. "Now, after playing consistently, you find your swing and you kind of get in a groove. You don't make as many tweaks. Once you kind of find what's comfortable, just stick with it."
"His swing has been in a little bit of an evolution of hitting more power but being more consistent," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "The ball comes off his bat better now than it did when he first came up last year. That's part of being up here year round."
This extended strong showing, coupled with his top-of-the-line outfield defense, has solidified Danks' role as a fourth outfielder moving forward. But understandably, the 27-year-old believes he can handle more.
"Obviously, for now, just to be here is good enough for me," Danks said. "Being an everyday starter is the ultimate goal. Hopefully, with consistent at-bats and taking advantage of opportunities, I have proven I can play at this level."
Ventura understands Konerko's dilemma
CHICAGO -- Before the latest round of questions concerning Paul Konerko's future could even begin pregame Tuesday, the White Sox captain politely but directly tabled the topic.
Konerko appreciates the interest, and understands the media's daily job about as well as any player in the game. But since Spring Training, Konerko has stated this topic would not be discussed during the regular season. As expected, he has held true to his word, even when speculation about his future make its way to social media.
"If he wanted to say something, he would," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "I was kind of the same way. Just because somebody comes and asks you a fifth time doesn't mean that's going to be the time to say it.
"When he decides one way or another what he's going to do, he'll let people know. At some point he just gets tired of somebody asking a question and they already know what his first response is going to be."
Ventura can relate to Konerko, in that his stellar 16-year-career came to an end after a stint with the Dodgers in 2004. His situation was different, in that Ventura had 175 plate appearances his final season. Konerko also has played the past 15 years, the truly formative part of his outstanding career, as part of the White Sox, including 433 at-bats this season entering Tuesday's game.
Walking away from the game is tough, according to Ventura, who knew he was retiring a couple of weeks before his announcement.
"You talk about it with your family. You're not 100 percent sure at the time, but I knew toward the end of my last year that I wasn't coming back," Ventura said. "It wasn't like with Paulie, where people want him to do a press conference.
"Even if you're ready, it's tough. When you've been doing this pretty much your whole adult life, whether you're frustrated with it or doing well at it, it becomes harder to know you're not going to be doing it. He knows he's not the guy he was 15 years ago, but he's very productive in the middle of the lineup."
With 426 of his 433 homers coming as part of the White Sox, Konerko sits just 23 behind Frank Thomas for the franchise record. Then again, stats have never driven Konerko.
The regular season ends one week from this Sunday. But Ventura believes his captain and the potential free agent will take a little time before deciding to come back or retire.
"We haven't talked about it. We talked about it a while ago," Ventura said. "He's the kind of guy that if he wants to talk about it, he'll talk about. I would imagine he would probably take a little time.
"There's more to it than simply walking off the field and spending 10 seconds giving an answer. For him, I don't know if it's close or not, but you get tired of [talking about] it."
Santiago pushed back in rotation to get some rest
CHICAGO -- Hector Santiago was in line to pitch Friday in the series opener at Comerica Park, but the left-hander will be skipped against the Tigers. Andre Rienzo, Chris Sale and Erik Johnson are the three pitchers slated to face the American League Central leaders, with Jose Quintana pitching in Monday's makeup game at home against the Blue Jays.
Santiago has set a single-season high with 142 2/3 innings. But from the sounds of comments made by White Sox manager Robin Ventura on Tuesday, it doesn't look as if Santiago has been shut down.
"The last few starts he's had, he just looks tired," said Ventura of Santiago, who has allowed nine runs and 10 walks over his last 12 2/3 innings covering three starts. "Pitching as many innings as he has this year, just give him a rest and see what he does next time out."
Third to first
• Konerko had high praise for former teammate Mark Kotsay, whose 17-year-career will come to an end after the 2013 season. The two played together with the White Sox during the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
"He was great. Helped me a lot. You would be hard pressed to find somebody that doesn't like Mark Kotsay," Konerko said. "He's just a real cool dude. He was a heck of a baseball player as well. He just knows the game. He can see situations before they would happen.
"Just on top of it, but definitely a rally the troops kind of guy. Hilarious most of the time."
• Alexei Ramirez became the fourth White Sox shortstop in franchise history to go 4-for-4 with a homer in a game during Monday night's 12-1 victory, according to Elias. He joined Luke Appling (1936), Ron Hansen (1967) and Ozzie Guillen (1985).
• Adam Dunn's eight homers are the most by any opposing hitter against the Twins this season.